by Marie Gryphon
Manhattan Institute
December 10, 2009
Civil Justice Report
For their own compelling reasons, the economic and social policies of the New Deal came to undermine the blameworthiness principle. Standards of conduct promulgated to protect and advance the public’s health, safety, and welfare carried with them deterrents imported from the criminal law. Today, the regulatory state, the New Deal’s descendant, so thoroughly encompasses the range of commercial activity that businesses and businesspeople trying to reduce their costs, better their products, best their rivals—do all of the things, in short, on which survival in a market economy depends—run an ever-present risk of becoming ensnared in the criminal law. In many instances, the laws in question are so voluminous and loosely drafted that even a student of the legislation would not have fair notice of what conduct was prohibited and what was not.



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